Hobby Lobby could have been just another big-box craft store chain, selling yarn, paint, and whimsical cake pans to shoppers of every gender, political stance, and sexuality. Instead, the corporation has kept its name in the news through controversial and harmful political activity, ranging from collecting stolen artifacts, as NPR has reported, to funning political ads suggesting that America is a Christian nation, to actively fighting to discriminate employees.
Meggan Sommerville has worked for Hobby Lobby for nearly 23 years, Forbes reports. It seems she’s spent nearly half of this career fighting for the simple right to access the bathroom designated for her gender. The ruling passed down on Friday by the Illinois Second District Appellate Court is in no way arbitrary.
“Sommerville’s sex is unquestionably female, just like the women who are permitted to use the women’s bathroom.”
Law & Crime covered the history of Sommerville’s employment at the company, and her transition. She says she started the process in 2007, letting the company know, and that a few years later, she legally changed her name. Hobby Lobby gave her no difficulties with updating employment files, but balked when it came to bathrooms.
She characterizes the bathroom ban as “the one thing [Hobby Lobby could] control.”
“Legally, what could they say?…The state of Illinois says I’m female. Okay. ‘Well, guess what? We’re going to control this one area. We’re going to control you this way.'”
Now at the end of a long battle, she has a victory: the company has accepted the ruling and agreed to comply.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com